Since making Creamy Potato Leek and Chicken Soup, I have been in love with the technique of poaching the chicken to start the stock used in the final dish. It’s so easy and allows you to start from scratch even if you don’t have any homemade stock on hand. You make the stock for your soup while you cook the chicken for your soup. How great is that?
This hearty corn chowder is slightly sweet, but the loads of fresh thyme lend an earthy balance. If you like a little extra kick, consider adding red pepper flakes or Cayenne pepper to the soup around the onions stage. With the corn harvest in full swing at most local farms here in the Northeastern U.S., I highly recommend freezing some extra now so you can enjoy that sweet summer taste–in dishes like this one–all winter long. This corn was from our recent visit to Maple Acres Farm.
Creamy Chicken and Grilled Corn ChowderAdapted from Chicken & Corn Chowder by Cooking in Kirkland and Chicken and Bacon Corn Chowder by The Red Lion Inn (via FoodNation With Bobby Flay)
Poached chicken and chicken broth:
- Chicken pieces (we used 3 chicken thighs)
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/4 pound thick bacon, diced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 bell pepper or several small peppers, seeded and diced small
- 2 shallots, diced fine
- Kernels cut from 5 ears of grilled corn
- Broth from poaching the chicken
- 5 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs for simmering; plus the leaves of 1 fresh thyme sprig for garnish
- 1 cup heavy cream
- The poached chicken, pulled apart into bite-sized pieces
- Freshly ground black pepper
Poach the chicken: Add chicken pieces, onion, garlic, celery, carrot, thyme, peppercorns, and a tablespoon of salt to a large pot. Add water to cover by about 1 inch. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Skim off any fat or gunk that collects at the surface (see photo for reference). Add more water as needed to keep the level of liquid. Simmer until the chicken is fully cooked, about 40 minutes. Strain the poaching liquid (the stock) and reserve. Reserve the chicken pieces. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bones and reserve. Discard the bones.
Prepare the corn: Place husked corn on a hot grill and cook quickly on each side until lightly charred. When the corn is cool enough to handle, slice the kernels off the cob and reserve. Cool and freeze any extra for later use.
Make the chowder: Add the bacon and olive oil to a large soup pot over medium heat and cook until the bacon is almost crisp. (Keep a little cooked bacon for a yummy, crunchy garnish.) Add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the corn, shallots, and peppers. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, potatoes, and thyme. You should be able to submerge everything in the pot. If you can’t, add some water (or store-bought stock) to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Pick out and discard the simmered thyme sprigs. Add the reserved chicken and the cream. Stir to combine and simmer for an additional 10 minutes to heat the chicken all the way through.
Garnish with more fresh thyme leaves and crumbled bacon.